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Main Character of the Week: Mom (allegedly) charged for school supplies her son broke

This viral anecdote from a momfluencer has divided the internet.


Ramon Ramirez


Main Character of the Week is a weekly column that tells you the most prominent “main character” online (good or bad). It runs on Fridays in the Daily Dot’s web_crawlr newsletter. If you want to get this column a day before we publish it, subscribe to web_crawlr, where you’ll get the daily scoop of internet culture delivered straight to your inbox.

The internet is a stage, and someone unwillingly stumbles onto it weekly. This makes them the “main character” online. Sometimes their story is heartwarming, like the guy who always stops at Hiltons on a road trip; usually it’s a gaffe. In any case, that main character energy flows through the news cycle and turbo-charges debate for several business days.

Here’s the 
Trending team’s main character of the week.

It’s the woman behind the low-stakes hoax of the summer. A Mom influencer told the Internet that her child’s teacher requested $370 in school supplies that her boy supposedly trashed.

It came via a Venmo request. The mom said that her son was singled out for breaking school supplies and decorations that his teacher had paid for out of pocket. However, the video was labeled as satire in the hashtags, which most viewers missed, and the supposed screenshot of the Venmo request did not hold up to scrutiny as it was an invoice for a place that does not exist.

So if the story were true, the momfluencer would be the main character of the week on her own merits. This is a surprising gesture from presumably a public school servant who triggers discussion and debate. Who even does this? Has anyone else been asked to pay for their child destroying school property? And so on.

You know how 85% of Venmo requests are petty and unwarranted? That’s why I refuse to engage with this penny-pinching technology that turns us into carefree cheapskates violently invoicing their friends for Chipotle. So too does this story have two compelling perspectives. The righteous educator asking for what’s hers and deserving it because she is a selfless public servant vs. the unorthodox and brazen request.

Too bad it was likely falsified for views. (Mom didn’t get back to us.)

And it’s a recurring TikTok pattern of inventing anecdotes for attention. Recently actor Glen Powell of Top Gun fame and other films I have not seen told an urban legend about a cannibal serial killer that his friend’s sister supposedly encountered. I have seen the story told by at least two comedians in podcast snippets that have appeared on TikTok in the past six months. But it’s the tall tale’s stranger than fiction-esque angle that creates the precious plausibility that one needs in order to ignite curiosity.

The other day a woman stole a female comedian’s joke and passed it off as her own personal experience. Most viral TikToks that feature lots of white text and are short in length seem to contain a lot of the same overlapping affirmations, anecdotes, jokes, and half-truths.

At least we sparked a little debate and chewed the fat in the process

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